Rants and raves about stuff happening in and around my life in Singapore

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Singapore CPF Challenges

10:03 PM By Barry Smyth , No comments

One has to wonder what the rest of the world is thinking as they look to Singapore and see it's Prime Minister (one of the most highly paid Prime Ministers in the world) sue one it's citizens for damages. 

Well known blogger Roy Ngerng went a tad too far in one of his recent postings on the woes of the CPF system here in Singapore which implied that Prime Minster was criminally misappropriating CPF funds. I can't argue with the smack on the wrist he received for the post which has subsequently removed and an appology issued for, however in addition the Prime Minister is also seeking financial damages with respect to the impact to his reputation.

Personally, I think that a Prime Minster suing a citizen for financial damages for a blog post is going to do more damage to his reputation than the post itself could ever have done. Net citizens are seemingly outraged by this what some are refering to as "bullying tactic" and while Roy Ngerng may have been misguided with respect to his implications about the Prime Minister, his post about the lack of transparancy into the investment strategy of the CPF was nevertheless an interesting read.

Meanwhile Law and Foreign Affairs Minister K Shanmugam has pointed out that citizens are free to criticise the government but they must back up any criticisms with facts. I think the good minister needs to understand the definition of the word criticise, it is a word defined as "to find fault with or indicate the faults of (someone or something) in a disapproving way". I'm not sure why you would need facts to do that since by definiton it is not an acqusation meerly an opinion. Although that said, how any member of the public is suppose to get their hands on such facts wasn't mentioned.

Tan Chuan-Jin has also reportedly blogged about the CPF although it still doesn't seem to address many of the points raised by Roy Ngerng (and others). For example, in relation to the rate of interest earned by the CPF Tan Chuan-Jin reportedly says "We then make sure this CPF account grows at a reasonable interest rate without risk", the point on transparency of how CBF money is invested and used missed it would seem.

The CPF is a good system, I don't think anyone can deny that and I don't think anyone is calling for it to be scrapped. But even as Tan Chuan-Jin reportedly posts in his own blog "CPF is your money" then the question of what the government is doing with it is still an important one to ask, just as the question on how the CPF can be improved is equally important. 

Many citizens opinion's seem to be changing with respect to what they want from their government with this latest flurry of activity around the topic of CPF not doing much to help. There seems to be a lot more mummerings of disapproval recently, understandably so it has to be said. 

I also think that much of Roy Ngerng post and subsequent video etc on this issue (as well as others) needs to be addressed. In my opinion he made many valid points that so far have gone unanswered as the focus shifts from those points to the story of the Prime Minister suing him for the implications made in his original story. 

Indeed since the original request PM Lee's lawyer has asked Roy Ngerng to remove 4 more additional articles that he had written and a video seemingly for no other reason than the articles in question (all related to CPF it would seem) would “aggravate the injury and distress to their client”.

It's a shame. I believe that PM Lee could have handled this in a much different manner but instead seems intent on alienating himself and his party just a little futher from the people it's there to serve. I don't think there is anyone I have talked to on this subject that has been impressed.

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